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Beyoğlu and its environs has always been a more cosmopolitan settlement area compared to the historic peninsula and highly preferred by Westerners. Following the edict that allowed foreign countries to appoint permanent envoys at the Ottoman Empire, all embassies with the exception of that of Iran, were opened in the Galata and Beyoğlu district. The earliest examples of almost all Western movements that had an impact on İstanbul sprouted in the Galata and Beyoğlu area. Recent art movements, changes in lifestyle are all manifested in this area as well. The first electricity, first coal gas, first tram, first underground funicular, first municipality have all found life here.


From the xvıııth century,Galata started to develop and spill over the city walls. Cadde-i Kebir, or İstiklal Street as it is known today, leads to Taksim from Galata walls. A second, parallel street that developed to the west of this street, on the hillside overlooking the Golden Horn is the Meşrutiyet Street formerly known as Kabristan-Mezarlık Street. From the first quarter of the XIXth century, the inns, which had been the sole means of lodging, started to be replaced by hotels. The first hotels were built in Beyoğlu, on the İstiklal and Meşrutiyet Streets; and the first known example of these new structures, Hôtel des Quatre Nations was opened in Galata. After operating for seven years, it was put up for sale. The first hotel in its modern sense was the Hôtel d’Angleterre, opened in 1841 on 463 Grande Rue de Pera. This was followed by Byzantium and Pera Hotels in 1849 and Hôtel de France in 1851. And from 1855, many hotels in European standards started their operations.


Bristol hotel lost its competitive edge against newcomers over time and fell out of use. Acquired by Eskişehir Bank in 1980, the structure was demolished save its façade and rebuilt by Has Architects Office [Hayzuran & Doğan Hasol] as Esbank Head Office. Redesigned as an administrative building, application in the structure was in accordance with the specifications in force in the 1980s and its planning was adjusted to meet the requirements of an office building. Over the three decades that have passed since the reconstruction of the building, earthquake regulations saw two major changes. Inspections revealed significant damage to the building’s structural system. Suna&İnan Kıraç Foundation purchased it together with an adjacent five-story residence building in 2002 with the goal of rearranging and restoring the structures to accommodate the newly founded Pera Museum. The combined base area of the museum is 475 m2.


The first news report on the Bristol Hotel was published in the 5 August 1892 issue of the French-language newspaper “Le Moniteur Oriental”, reporting the commissioning of the Bristol Hotel by the Armenian-Catholic Patriarchate to Architect Achille Manoussos. Opened in 1893, the building served as a prestigious hotel until the 1950s. Built on block no. 303, lot no. 59. in the Asmalımescit district, facing the Meşrutiyet Street, the structure is the work of Achille Manoussos, erected in the last quarter of the XIXth century. To the left of the main entrance of the building is the inscription “A. MANOUSSOS ARCHITECTE.” Designed in accordance with the general architectural character of the period, the structure is marked on the maps drawn by E. Goad in December 1905.


The façades of both structures on the Meşrutiyet Street underwent extensive repair and were conserved for their architectural characteristics and due to the hardships involved in rebuilding them from scratch. The existing façade of Bristol Hotel is made up of soft regional stones while the columns on both sides of the entrance door as well as the balcony railings on the central axis of the first floor are marble. The existing façade of the residence building save first floor is finished with plaster. The rear fronts of both buildings, which did not present any unique features that required conservation, were demolished during the Esbank rearrangements. As the construction of two basement floors were planned starting from the Meşrutiyet Street level during the restoration stage, the façade was mounted to a steel framework, going down nearly 8 meters below the street level.


As the main principle of planning, the core including the stairway, elevators, rest rooms and installation shafts was positioned at the conjunction of the two buildings. Thus, two exhibition halls were obtained on the both sides of the core one with an area of 100 m2, and another of 200 m2. The biggest hardship that was encountered during the preparation of the project was insufficient story heights. Original buildings were five stories tall including the entrance and four floors. However, as the permitted building heights on Meşrutiyet Street had been increased to 24,5 meters over time, two more floors were added during the restoration of the hotel as Head Office, bringing the structure height to seven stories. Although the removal of these two additions was considered, the restoration work was nevertheless continued to keep the same height due to insufficient base area. The ground and first floor heights of the original structure were maintained while three floors were reduced to two in the new planning in order to obtain the necessary volume in the exhibition halls. Consequently, the modern structure came to have six stories above the ground.


The first basement floor consists of a 180 seat auditorium and its foyer while the second basement floor includes technical volumes and depot units. The ground floor features the reception, store and Peracafé. As the main building entrance is higher than the street level, it was decided that this gate would be used as a protocol entrance while the daily visitors’ entrance was designated in the smaller structure. Directly accessible from the street level, this floor provides access to the ground level both through stairs and an elevator for the disabled.Part of the structure is designated as a permanent exhibition hall for the Suna&İnan Kıraç Foundation Collection and another to serve as a temporary exhibition hall. The first two floors feature Suna&İnan Kıraç Foundation Collections; the first floor has been divided into two permanent exhibition sections with the great hall featuring the “Anatolian Weights & Measures” and small hall the “Kütahya Tiles & Ceramics.” The second floor hosts the “Portraits from the Empire” exhibition as part of the long-term thematic exhibitions at the Sevgi&Erdoğan Gönül Gallery as part of the Orientalist Paintings Collection. The remaining three floors feature multi-purpose temporary exhibition halls.

Picture Gallery
  • Pera Müzesi Kapak